July 8th, 2016

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Dallas

Last night Twitter and Facebook came alive about a shooter in downtown Dallas, We turned on the local news to see excellent coverage of the horrific sniper attack upon police. We live 25 miles north of downtown Dallas, We know downtown well. I worked downtown as a young man. I still go to court there. We ride the train in some Saturdays to the museums or events. So all these city street blocks in the news are spaces we pass through. This horrible terror event is so sad.
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half a sky of smoke

I love Twitter, because it offers alternative viewpoints and often breaks news and weather new faster than the TV news and weather outlets. But today Twitter is full of conspiracy theories, perverse voices, and repugnant chatter, admixed in the sensible and useful expressions of dismay and loss. Some of those odd voices are political figures,\ some are entertainment figures, and some are ordinary folks lacking power or influence.

I picked a morning trip for tomorrow, assuming I hit the road in time to drive 90 minutes before the morning heat rises. I admit that what clinched the choice for me was the realization that the town in question is very small. I love when towns of 2,000 to 5,000 do low-budget tourism promotion.

When we lived in Los Angeles, we experienced the 1992 Rodney King riots. I remember staying up into the wee hours, seeing if the burning blocks along Manchester would reach as far as our very western airport-adjacent apartment building.

The next day, work had been called off. I took our late and lovely lhasa Scout out for a walk. When we faced west, we saw a coastal Spring day, with an elderly couple walking under a gentle Spring sun. When I looked to the east, I saw half a sky of thick, dark smoke.

That weekend, we left LA and drove to the Santa Clarita Valley, a valley or two over. That valley featured no smoke, no curfews and no tension. We looked at new homes and went to a Disney movie. I feel a little like I need to go back to the valley, or at least to a small town.

My wife is in Kansas City this weekend, so Beatrice and I will make the best of things.

Huge swaths of downtown Dallas will be closed until Wednesday as parts of downtown are being treated as a giant crime scene. I found myself moved by the morning press conference by the mayor and in particular the chief of police. I found myself moved by thinking of the families of the police and also of the woes facing the family of the shooter.